Security czar warns of hacker terrorists
- By John K. Waters
[FEBRUARY 27, 2002] -- U.S. cyber security czar Richard A. Clarke kicked off the eleventh
annual RSA Security Conference last week with a warning that future
terrorists may exploit glaring weaknesses in this country's computer
systems. "They will look for the seams," Clarke told attendees gathered
at the San Jose Convention Center. "They will look to where our
infrastructure is fragile."
During his keynote address, Clarke urged companies to make computer
security a top priority. He cited a recent Forrester Research report,
which found that U.S. businesses spend on average .0025 percent of
their revenue on information security. "If you spend more money on
coffee than IT security," Clarke warned, "you will be hacked. And
moreover, you deserve to be hacked."
Clarke has been issuing his clarion call to the U.S. business community
since his appointment as the first White House Special Advisor for Cyber
Security last October. Clarke served as the country's first National
Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and
Counter-terrorism under the Clinton administration. He also served under
the Reagan administration.
Clarke said that the Bush administration has proposed to increase federal
cyber security funding by sixty-four percent to $4 billion, eight percent
of the government's $50 billion IT budget, and he urged U.S. companies to
follow that example.
"[IT] runs the same risk that the aviation industry ran," Clarke said.
"For years, people in the aviation industry knew that there were security
vulnerabilities. They convinced each other and convinced themselves that
these vulnerabilities would never be used."
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached